How to Write a Marketing E-Mail

Writing emails that your recipients will read and respond to is a valuable skill. However, in a world that places increasing demands on your followers’ attention, it can be extremely difficult to get noticed. Whilst there are no guarantees, there are several things you can do to increase the chances of your email being opened and acted upon.

How to write a compelling marketing e-mail.

  1. Use actionable language in your subject line. Write your subject lines as you would a sales headline. There are many proven formulas you can use but a simple one is: How to [achieve a desirable result] in [a short period of time]. You will want to keep the subject line short.
  2. Make the subject line appeal to an “ideal recipient”. Target your e-mails at specific audience segments or members wherever possible. Use the person’s first name in your message (if you use an email marketing service, you can do this automatically). The subject line has to hook the reader and the best way to accomplish that is to make the subject line as relevant and as enticing as possible, i.e. offer a powerful benefit to the recipient, e.g. “How to shred fat and build muscle with a 15 minute kettlebell workout.
  3. Make sure your e-mail content delivers what the subject line promises. Your personalized subject line makes a promise about your e-mail content, and the content itself has to keep that promise. While a catchy subject line that doesn’t align with your e-mail’s content can increase your e-mail open rate, it won’t do much for your website’s ratings and certainly little for your revenue figures. Make sure that the subject line is both compelling and a reflection of what the content actually is about.
         For example, if your goal is to sell a high-value course, you can offer an excerpt of the course as stand-alone email content. It’s this excerpt that you need to deliver the promise on. (If you do this correctly, you will gain the goodwill of your follower and increase your chances of making a sale). At the end of the email, with the promise fulfilled, you can then promote your high-value course.
  4. Use powerful incentives. “FREE”, “Download”, “Secrets”, “Checklist”, “Workbook”, “Step-by-Step”, “Strategy”, “System” – these are all powerful words to entice a recipient to open your email. They communicate value and usefulness. Try to incorporate one of them in your subject line.
  5. Sell the click, not the product. Keep it simple. Your email does not have to close a sale. All it needs to do is “sell a click”, i.e. make the recipient click on a link that takes them to a sales/landing page where you can present a more comprehensive sales effort.
  6. Keep it short and succinct. Readers loves short e-mails. They skim rather than read the majority of the e-mails they receive. Keep your emails short. Using a bullet-point structure that includes working links to specific page of your website is a far better approach. Each point should be a short summary of the benefit offered to the customer, followed by a link with more details that the customer can easily access through the e-mail.
  7. Grab their attention and don’t let go. Email is not long-form content. Get to the point. Your email message should be readable in seconds. Grab the recipient’s attention with your subject line then quickly answer the subconscious question your recipients will have, “What’s in it for me?” Capture the reader’s interest and motivate them to learn more (i.e. “sell the click”).
  8. Promote benefits, not features. There’s a popular marketing saying, “Sell the sizzle, not the steak”. Every product has features (what it has) and benefits (what it can do). Benefits are far more effective at selling than features. You’re not buying a drill, you’re buying holes. You’re not buying a camera, you’re buying memories. You’re not buying software/information, you’re buying a solution. You get the idea. Promote your products by saying what it can do for your prospective customer (and why that’s important), not what it is.
  9. Promote your personal brand. E-mail marketing is a very important marketing channel for your business, which means that it offers you a chance to show customers who you are, your values, and the personality of your brand. This has to be done in a way that provides satisfactory user experience and plants a seed for future long-term relationships. Your brand can shine through your writing style, your formatting style, your call-to-action buttons and many other features. You don’t need to write lengthy emails to project your brand: your willingness to help;  your greeting; the quality of your offer – all these build a brand without having to write long emails.
  10. Always include a call-to-action. “Get it now”, “Learn more, “Click here”, “Buy now”, “Download”, “Count me in” etc. should be featured in your marketing e-mails, either in text or HTML format. They help move your prospects through the sales funnel and should be included in all your emails.

Takeaway points

  1. Your subject line is your email’s sales headline. It needs to capture your recipient’s attention with a relevant, enticing incentive.
  2. You don’t need to sell your product. You just have to “sell the click”, i.e. make the reader click on a link that takes them to a page on your website where they can learn more (and you can sell more directly).
  3. Write and format the e-mail in a way that’s compelling, easy-to-read, provides top-level user experience and tells the reader what they can get from you. Use bullet points/lists and add value.

Action steps

  1. If you’re serious about selling your know-how, you will need to build your follower numbers and have a way to email them regularly. An email marketing service like Aweber allows you to craft unlimited email campaigns, automate email sending and manage download requests and unsubscribe requests.
  2. Write an email for one of your information products. Include the following:
    – a subject line that gives the recipient an incentive to open your email, e.g. “Download our FREE course: How to [achieve a desirable result] in [a short period of time]”;
    – 5 bullet points listing the benefits of your offer;
    – a call-to-action link that directs users to your sales page promoting your product in greater detail;
  3. If you’re ready to take the next step, consider creating an email marketing sequence – multiple emails that naturally guide a recipient to buying your product. Done well, prospects do not feel – or even realise – they are being sold to. It takes more effort but many six-figure experts swear by its effectiveness.

Photo credit: Dean Hochman via / CC BY 2.0

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